Durianbb.com

I was walking toward a flyover near Gloucester Road when I saw this scruffy looking poster.

  
Most of the company’s details at the bottom were hidden due to “competition overlap” but fortunately they had the good sense to put their website right there in the center.

Durianbb sells durian whole, durian ice gelato bars, durian coffee and durian mochi. On the website you can see their products, stockists and how they carefully pack the durian fruit for shipment.

None of the stockists are near me… So it’ll be an adventure when I embark on the search. Or maybe I’ll just order online. 

Durianbb.com is all in chinese.

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Christmas durians 2015

I made a really boozy fruitcake for SW to share with the office. 

 

My Christmas fruitcake

 
Just wanted to show it off ;). And I wondered whether at some point, someone would try to introduce durian into fruitcakes since almost every other confectionary has a durian flavor. But this was a British fruitcake, so no durian. 

After a family Christmas dinner of excellent chinese food last night, we opened a box of defrosted durian. My mum had squirrelled this box away last durian season a few months ago and said it was the last of the Mao Shan Wangs. 

 

mao shan wang

 
The color looked very pale for a cat mountain king but the flesh looked delicate and just peeled off the seed cleanly. So fantastic.

 

just 4 segments

 
Most of the flesh was slightly bitter with a mild fermented taste but there were also some parts where the taste was quite bland… Perhaps the freeze thaw process does rob some parts of their flavour. 

  

the pebble like seeds

 Still, a very good 8/10. We will be hunting around for more so stay tuned.

News update: All Gone…

I received a last minute invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner and was wondering what to bring. I had some green agar jellies that I’d made but thought that something more substantial was in order. My go to gift is always good fruit. Expensive but delicious and worth it if the host is a fruity foodie (which my host was).

Back to Fu Wing. There really wasn’t much in the way of anything special, the peaches were soft and only 3 were left. I wanted the unmolested fruit. So out of the fridge came the crisp persimmons and Korean pears. 

Wait a minute. Where were the durians I saw yesterday? The polystyrene box was there but nothing on top but clear airspace. 

So I asked.

See tao po: “ai ya, lao lin mai sai la”

Translation: ai ya, durians sold out.

I asked who bought it, whether one person bought all or each bought one?

See tao po: one person bought one box, one person bought one box and a half, one person bought 2, one person bought 3. So all sold out.

Curious me: how much was it per box?

See tao po: 26 pounds

Curious me: so it was 168 per pound you sold them?

See tao po: for box bulk buyers special discount, 148 per pound.

Wow. In Hong Kong money is no object (relative to property prices, everything pales) and dropping a few thousand for durian is no issue. 

Curious me: for that price they can go to Malaysia to eat durian!

See Tao po: yes but the buyer said that when he went last time he couldn’t get any as all the Musang Kings had been exported!

Competition for the best fresh durians is already happening?! 

Well globalisation and international logistics chains are skewing markets everywhere. Good and bad I suppose, depending on which side you’re on.

Durian Extravaganza: Expedition in Penang

Durian Stall in Penang (front view)

If you didn’t know that durians from Penang are famous world-over, you do now.

Balik Pulau in Penang is one of Malaysia’s premium durian cultivation zones, with the creative farm-owners cross breeding the fruit to yield the most luscious flavors, colors, aromas and innovative names.

I was in Penang for work and including the 2 in tow from KL, there were a total of 6 of us. After the work day was done with, we rewarded ourselves with a durian feast which CyL had booked in advance.
“If you don’t book and you don’t arrive early, you won’t get the best” she said knowingly. It sounded almost like a threat that if we didn’t wrap up work in time, someone else might steal our fun.
So punctually at 5.30pm, we concluded business matters and piled into our vehicles. If you have been stuck in Penang’s almost-as-famous traffic jams before, you probably know that the short distance from Pulau Tikus to Jalan Macalister took us 30 minutes. Initially, I thought we were going to the usual Jalan Anson stall (which we had patronized all these years), but MG said that the stall owners were reluctant to acknowledge and exchange substandard quality durians which were charged at premium prices.

So where is the Durian Stall?

It’s right on the corner of Lorong Susu and Jalan Macalister, you can park along Lorong Susu. I’ve labelled both stalls on the map below just in case you are desperate for durian and one stall isn’t open for any reason.

Durian Stall in Penang

And what durian varieties do they have?

Here’s a signboard that will help you with your choice. Not that they have all the types all the time, because it depends on the specific trees and when the fruits fall.

The tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Ok, now let’s get to the durians. It was almost dinner time so we went crazy and ordered all the best varieties they had.

Green Skin Durian

I think this was the Bamboo

They were all good, very different flavors and textures. Yummy.

The Durian Susu

Durian Fingerprint Texture Test

An unripe durian is very firm and almost dry to touch. The best way to know if the durian is ripe and ready for eating is to press your finger into it and see if it leaves an imprint, indicating its softness and moisture.

(I would not recommending this test on durians displayed in supermarket packages, the supermarkets get very upset when there are lots of fingerprints all over the durian they are trying to sell).

As a substitute for finger-pressing, use your nose. The smell of ripe durians always gives it away and the stronger and more tantalizing the scent. Color is deceptive as some durians are lighter than others, but generally durian flesh does darken in color slightly on ripening.

All the durians on the table – I think each of us must have eaten at least one whole if not two…

Various durians on the table

Of course, there is no way I could return without any durians for SW so we selected several and put them in a box. Green Skin, Butter, Mau Sang Wang were the three top ones, so those got packed into plastic containers and wrapped in cling film.

All these in the box for take-away

Looks quite a lot doesn’t it? But it was wrapped up into only 7 boxes. Interestingly while we were there wrapping these, several tourists from Macau also visited the stall and wanted to bring some back. Unfortunately, their tour guide informed them that Airasia would not accept durians onto their flight and that it was pointless to spend money buying them as they would probably be confiscated.

Hey Airasia, maybe its time to allow people to bring it on as long as its packed and sealed well (they have to use a cling wrap service for the entire bag perhaps) and pay a surcharge for these. After all, what else is there really to buy as a real cultural souvenir in Penang?

Durian menu in Chinese

Some parting shots, the durian names in chinese, for the benefit of our chinese readers, and a shot of all the durian husks in bins waiting for the garbage truck.

Durian Skin Bin

Maybe the durian skins are recycled or made into compost…

This is definitely a stall worth visiting, and if you don’t eat durian (what are you doing reading this site!!) then the stall also has great mangosteens and rambutans, jackfruit and cempadak, so you can gorge on that instead.